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What Can You Learn From a Rejection Letter?


As a job seeker, it’s common to get at least one rejection letter from a company where you’ve applied for work. Candidate rejection letters can seem like a slap in the face, when really they are meant to foster good will with candidates who may not be suited for a job at the present time. If you look beyond the actual rejection itself, you may see that there are some things to be learned from receiving a rejection letter.

Candidate Rejection Letters – What They Can Teach You

Getting a rejection letter from a company is not exactly the end of the world, but it can feel like a negative experience. That is, if you forget there are some lessons to be learned from this.

Can you make improvements?

Do You Know What You're Worth?

First, look at this as a chance to carefully look over your application and interviewing skills. Perhaps there are some areas of improvement you can make that will better prepare you for success at the next opportunity? Try to objectively review how well you represent the level of professional that you are. For example, maybe you did not make a favorable first impression with the hiring manager due to the language used in your cover letter, or your in-person interview did not go as well as you had hoped for. 

Robots sent you the rejection letter

Second, you may be getting an automated rejection letter sent out by a candidate management system. Maybe your resume is not accurately reflecting the unique qualities and skills you have, or the format is not resume scanner friendly? There may be a gap between your resume key words and those used in the job advertisement. Do a quick review, make corrections, and by all means, reapply for an assignment at your earliest convenience.

Poor job fit can save you a big headache

Third, consider that maybe the job wasn’t a good fit for you after all? One thing you will want to examine is the corporate culture and mission of each organization you apply for. This will help you to more closely match the company to your values and work style. Sometimes, getting a rejection letter can be a silver lining because you may have had a hard time fitting in with a particular company.

It’s nothing personal

Lastly, understand that a candidate rejection letter is nothing to take overly personal. It’s not an attack on you as a person, or as a professional. It’s merely a chance to keep looking for the right career and a company that better meets your career goals. Look at a rejection letter in this way: The company at least took the time to review your qualifications and your resume, out of all the hundreds of other applications. This can tell you that at least you are on the right path to a great new career!

Tell Us What You Think?

How do you react to candidate rejection letters? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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Tess C. Taylor
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